The Monday-morning fog was thick enough to cut with the scissors Elburn Village President David Anderson used in the ribbon-cutting, but the longtime benefits of the new Anderson Road bridge were crystal clear for public officials and Elburn residents who came to celebrate the bridge’s grand opening.
Anderson said the overpass of the busy Union Pacific West Line railroad tracks was 20 years in the making, but it arrives with a promise to enhance enhance economic development, improve emergency response and increase access for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to the Elburn Metra station.
Students from nearby John Steward Elementary School stole the show with their singing of the National Anthem, just prior to brief speeches by Anderson, Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, Kane County board member and Transportation Committee Chair Drew Frasz and U.S. Congressman Randy Hultgren. The students also took home pieces of the red, white and blue ribbon that were cut in the ceremony that marked the bridge’s official opening to through traffic.
“I think it’s especially appropriate that we have students from the fifth-grade class celebrating with us today,” Lauzen said. “By the time these children are the ages of many of us in this group, they will have had a half a century of using this bridge. I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy passing it on to future generations.
“It’s a wonderful thing we celebrate today,” Lauzen added. “It may be foggy weatherwise this morning, but we’re grateful for the clear vision that has come from generations that have made Kane County such a wonderful place to live, work and play — and our hats are off to them today.”
Frasz, whose 18th District includes Elburn and who owns a business in the construction industry, said the goal is always to deliver a project on time and on budget.
“I’m happy to report that this project is not only being delivered on budget but actually ahead of time,” he said.
The $16 million Anderson Road project was scheduled to be completed in the spring, he said, but residents now would be able to enjoy benefits for an extra five months.
More than 105 trains per day pass through that part of town, with railroad gates down on average about three hours a day. There are no existing bridges or underpasses within the village, and the Kane County Division of Transportation has estimated that a driver has to endure “seven miles of adverse travel” to avoid gates down at the IL Route 47 grade crossing.
“I was always aware that this was one of the top five freight corridors in the nation,” Frasz said. “Recently, I found out it has reached the status of No. 1 – the busiest freight corridor in the nation. (Because of that train traffic), Route 47 shuts down every few minutes, the town kind of draws to a close and everybody waits for the train to go by. This project will solve that problem. It will provide an alternate route for the residents, trucking companies, and emergency vehicles — which as Mayor Anderson said is very important — and it will improve access to the industrial park.”
Hultgren said having the busiest freight corridor in the nation is “a great blessing for us economically.”
“This is a great day to celebrate,” he said. “It represents federal, state and local leaders coming together to get projects done that make a difference for people’s lives. ”
- For more information on the Anderson Road project, see this PDF on the Kane County Division of Transportation website.
- Traffic signals at Anderson, Keslinger Roads to Be Activated Monday
- Portion of Anderson Road to Be Opened Wednesday
- Part of Anderson Road to Reopen Prior to Start of Schoolyear
- Anderson Road in Elburn to Be Closed Starting June 2
- New 2 Mile Roadway and Bridge/Overpass
- Provides Travel Route Alternatives
- Improves Response Time for Emergency Vehicles
- Offers a Class II Truck Route
- Safe Grade-Separated Railroad Crossing
- Direct Access to the Elburn Metra Station
- Travel Mode Alternatives
- Provides Bicycle/Pedestrian Infrastructure
- Promotes Transit Oriented Development
- Public and Private Sector Partnerships: Kane County, Village of Elburn, Blackberry Township, Metra, Union Pacific Railroad, and Landowners
- Expedited Construction Schedule
- Shovel-Ready pending Land Acquisition
- Funding Commitments from Federal, State and Local Sources; Engineering and Land Acquisition Completed with Local Funds
- Provides needed construction jobs
- Spurs economic development
- Reduces traffic congestion/fuel consumption
- Connects residents to retail, service, commercial, and educational land uses
- Improves air quality
- Improves safety